I-405 still congested, but flowing better since expansion

Cars snake through the Sepulveda Pass near the Getty Center on I-405. The stretch is one of the most congested in the country. jonathanpoh/Flickr

About a year after Metro completed its improvements of the Sepulveda Pass section of the 405 freeway, traffic has improved, rush hour has shrunk and the number of accidents has dropped, according to a study commissioned by the agency.

The study found that while the project has not brought down wait times during rush hour (a previous study found they've actually gone up by a minute), there are reasons to celebrate. 

After five years of construction — including two Carmageddons, a Jamzilla and countless detours and delays — a carpool lane was added to the Northbound side, two bridges were rebuilt and several on and off-ramps were lengthened. 

According to the new study:

The corridor from Interstate 10 to U.S. 101 near Westwood is consistently ranked among the most congested stretches of highway in the country.

Aziz Elattar, who heads Metro's Highway programs, stressed that it's important to look at the project not only in terms of the benefits it gained, but also the hassles it avoided.

"If we had done nothing, things would have been a lot worse,” he said.

He pointed to study projections that showed a 35 percent increase in wait times had the project not been completed.